This page discusses some of the legal aspects which need to be considered when providing or accepting Spiritual Healing treatments.
Site works best with Javascript enabled
Legal Matters

Giving Healing to children under 18 years of age.

Note: The information that follows is based on UK law as it applies to England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland a person of 16 years or over is considered an adult. However, a married person who resides in any part of the United Kingdom ceases to be regarded as a child on reaching the age of 16. The restrictions described below are applicable to any young person under the age of 18 years (16 in Scotland) who is not married.

Until 1995 it was commonly assumed by most healers, as well as the majority of therapist involved in complementary medicine, that children who were aged 16 years or older could receive treatment without the consent of a parent or guardian. This proved not to be the case; the misunderstanding came about because a person aged sixteen or seventeen years may consent to ‘medical treatment’ in the absence of the consent of the parent or guardian - but Healing (Spiritual), as well as all the so called ‘alternative ‘ or ‘complementary’ treatments, do not qualify in law as ‘medical treatment’. The consent of the parent or guardian of all patients under the age of 18 should therefore be obtained whenever possible. Where the consent cannot be obtained, treating the patient may technically constitute an assault. The treatment of a patient is legal only with his or her express or implied consent and other than a court of law, only the parent or guardian can give this consent for a minor (defined as being less than 18 years of age) unless for medical treatment recognised in law, as previously described.

Note: The law regards as an assault even the touching of one person by another without the former’s consent (or their parent or guardian) if under the age of 18.

It is for this reason that a Registered Healer will regard it as vital both from the legal point of view as well as on the grounds of good practice, to explain to the patient exactly what is going to take place when performing the act of healing and that they have understood and assented before proceeding. This is why I have explained in some detail my approach to giving Spiritual Healing under topics Normal procedure and What to expect. This is particularly important because, as established in several other topics on this website, there are various methods to giving Spiritual Healing ranging from a fully ‘hands-on’ approach to there being no physical contact whatsoever.

If for example, a patient has been used to having healing with no, or hardly any, physical touch by the Healer and then receives healing from someone different using the opposite approach, then this could lead to an unfortunate misunderstanding. Because the law regarding the well-being of children is more strict, it is all the more important that the Healer fully explains to the person with legal responsibility for the child exactly what is going to take place, and to explain it also to the child, as far as is practical bearing in mind their age.

In 1995 The Healing Trust (NFSH) agreed to revise its Code of Conduct relating to the permission to give healing to young persons to read: "It should be noted by all healers that it is illegal to give healing to a young person under the age of 18 without first obtaining the permission of the parent or guardian of the young person. Young people of 16 but below the age of 18 may request qualified medical attention for themselves but as healing is not recognised as qualified medical treatment the permission of a parent or guardian must be obtained before healing is given."

This was subsequently to be adopted by the Confederation of Healing Organisation (CHO) and confirmed by the British Complementary Medicine Association (BCMA). The NFSH as well as all CHO affiliated organisations base their code of conduct on guidelines issued by the BCMA.

In January 1999 the NFSH extensively revised its Code of Conduct (CoC) to include a much more comprehensive explanation as to the law relating to the giving of treatment to children under 18 years of age. This was revised in the 2010 version of the CoC which was a year after the NFSH had changed its working name to "The Healing Trust". A further extensively updated CoC was to be subsequently published in 2018 which is the current version (as at 2020). As well as containing further information on working with children, the new CoC gives guidance on working with vulnerable adults. For further information on working with children and adults at risk, reference should be made to sections 4.11 to 4.24 of The Healing Trust Code of Conduct 2018.

These guidelines are further complicated by additional clauses contained in The Children Act 1989. In particular, is the matter of a sick child being brought for healing by the person with parental responsibility for that child and who has not consulted a medical doctor. The Healer may unwittingly be put in the position of being complicit in law of a criminal offence if they do not warn the parent or guardian that they may be guilty of a criminal offence for not seeking medical treatment for their child.

In situations where a Registered Healer becomes aware that such a child has not previously been referred for treatment to a medical doctor, then the healer is required by their code of conduct to obtain the signature from the parent or guardian to a statement that they have been warned that they are required by law to consult a doctor concerning the health of their child. Healing should not be given if such a declaration is not signed.

In addition, the Registered Healer has a responsibility to notify the child’s doctor or the appropriate social services department, if they suspect the child is suffering from any form of harm, be it emotional or physical. The healer has the right to refuse healing to any child under 18 years where they are not satisfied that their parent or guardian is fully cooperating in trying to obtain medical treatment as defined in law for the well-being of their child.

Dozing infant

Babies can be very receptive
to healing energy

Giving healing to animals

It has already been established above that there are strict laws governing the giving of Spiritual Healing (and other complementary treatments) to children under 18 years of age. The law relating to the giving of similar treatments to animals is in fact, even stricter and enshrined in The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966. This act prohibits anyone other than a registered veterinary surgeon from carrying out treatment on animals. This includes diagnosis of injuries and ailments including any associated diagnostic tests and treatment and advice based on that diagnosis.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) does however allow Contact (and Distant) Healing as being permitted under the terms of the above act. Such permission is only given to bona fide healers operating to a strict code of conduct. The Healer must establish that the owner of the animal has sought veterinary attention for the animal.

Unless this assurance can be given, the Healer is not permitted by law to perform Spiritual Healing. The veterinary surgeon remains in charge of the case at all times and the healer must never countermand any treatment that the veterinary surgeon has prescribed.